February 25, 2017
Hon. Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker
New York City Council
105 East 116th St
New York, NY 10029
re: NY City Council Proposed Commercial Rent Tax Legislation
Dear Councilmember Mark-Viverito:
I am writing to express the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative’s support for new legislation being considered by the NYC Council to reduce taxes paid by “mom and pop” small retail establishments by exempting them from paying the Commercial Rent Tax.
Small independent businesses have traditionally comprised the very heart of Lower East Side neighborhoods, as well as other neighborhoods around the city. With ever increasing rents and the demolition of the city’s older, smaller buildings for replacement by much larger buildings with larger retail space, “mom and pops” are increasingly being displaced by large corporate chains and franchises. This affects the very character of our city, and undoubtedly affects democratic governing as national corporations and franchises are likely to be less rooted and involved in community affairs. Although we cannot comment on the specifics of the proposed legislation, we strongly believe that small independent businesses should be nurtured and protected.
As a preservation organization, we know that “mom and pops” typically fit well within the smaller commercial spaces available in historic buildings, such as those found in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The human scale of historic buildings and small retail provide an excellent urban environment for those who live, work and visit historic neighborhoods.
We respectfully ask that City Council moves to pass this legislation at the earliest opportunity. Thank you for your consideration.
Richard D. Moses
cc: Hon. Margaret Chin, NY City Council